Rules

FIH and NCAA Rules

The National Field Hockey League adopts the NCAA Rules as our foundation rules in hopes of providing consistency during regulation and tournament league games.

Click here for FIH Rules of Hockey
Click here for the 2016 NCAA Rules Modifications

However, the following are rules specific to the NFHL and must be maintained by all members of the league. Please recognize these rules and note them to officials as per each regulation league game.

NFHL Rules

Click here for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Summary of Rule Changes

Coaches and captains should always bring the NCAA rules, NFHL rules and Summary of Rule Changes to every game, in case there is confusion with umpires or other teams.  If teams want to modify any rules (e.g. if both teams agree to play with more male players, etc.), all teams involved in the game/tournament must be in agreement prior to the game. All modifications and agreements (from all teams) must be in writing (email) in case of a dispute.

LEAGUE MEMBERSHIP

Membership Requirements

  • Members must send at least one representative to the mandatory annual league meeting. Honorary members may attend via conference call but will not have the opportunity to voice their opinions or vote on rule changes.
  • Members must sign a social media policy and liability release form each year, prior to the start of the season.
  • Members must comply with all deadlines set by the NFHL.
  • Members must read and comply with all NFHL emails.
  • Members must complete all surveys and respond to all league votes.
  • Members must update team contact information in a timely manner.
  • Members must abide by all NFHL rules.

Failure to comply with the rules of the league will result in the following:

  • Probation until notified by league coordinators.
  • Team will be reinstated only by majority votes by co-coordinators and other team representatives.

Honorary vs. Full Members

  • Please click here to see an outline of the differences between becoming a Full vs. Honorary member.

“A” vs. “B” Teams

This is only used for ranking purposes – please see the “RANKING” section below for details.

 

LEAGUE MEMBERSHIP

Membership Fees

  • Fall Season:
    • Due help cover the operational costs for the NFHL (website, annual meeting, etc.) and costs for the fall championship (fields, officials, EMTs, trophy, and other fees associated with the weekend).
      • Full Members: $250 per teams.
      • Honorary Members: $60 per team.
  • Spring Tournament:
    • Dependent upon the location and date and varies per season.
    • $450 per team.
  • The NFHL must receive team dues (or a letter of verification*) by the assigned deadline.
    • Teams may submit a letter from their school verifying that the paperwork for dues has been submitted.
    • If the NFHL has not received a check or letter from the school by the assigned deadline, the team will not be eligible for the Fall Championship/Spring Tournament.
    • Teams are responsible for checking the website to make sure the NFHL has received their dues by the deadline.

Insurance and Liability Release

The National Field Hockey League does not provide insurance coverage for individual teams. Teams who need insurance coverage for their team and/or players will be responsible for acquiring this coverage on their own. The National Field Hockey League will only provide coverage for the Fall Championship and Spring Tournament.

All teams are required to have a signed liability release form on file with the league. Teams must agree to indemnify and save harmless the National Field Hockey League, from and against any and all loss, damage, claim, demand, liability or expense by reason of any damage or injury to property or person which may be claimed to have arisen as a result of or in connection with participation in the league.

Please click here for the liability release form.

FALL SEASON STRUCTURE

Game Structure

  • 30-minute halves with 10 minute half time.

Scoring

  • Scoring rules are determined by NCAA rules (see link above). It is highly recommended that a copy of these rules by kept on you at all times.

Players

  • Minimum # of Players:
    • Start each game with immediate players (there must be a minimum amount of 9 players, including the goalie, to be considered a regulation game).
    • If a team is missing players (due to late attendance, etc.) begin play with immediate players. However, the team with a full roster is allowed a one player advantage against the other team.
  • Transgender Athletes (from the NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation): The following policies clarify participation of transgender student-athletes undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition:
    • A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for purposes of NCAA competition may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.
    • A trans female (MTF) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for the purposes of NCAA com- petition may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.
    • Any transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with his or her assigned birth gender.
      • A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who is not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate on a men’s or women’s team.
      • A trans female (MTF) transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team.
  • Male Players:
    • If there are men on the team, only four men on each team will be permitted on the field at any given time (with exception to the goalie). Thus, there can potentially be five men on the field during a regulation game providing the fifth male is the goalie.
    • During 7 v. 7 overtime, only 3 men on each team will be permitted on the field at any given time (with exception to the goalie). Thus, there can potentially be four men on the field during overtime providing the fourth male is the goalie.

Anti-Discrimination

  • Membership may not be denied because of race, color, age, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. In addition, players will not be excluded based on skill level or participation in other competitive leagues or associations.  Eligibility of coaches and students (e.g. exchange students, graduate students, etc.) to participate on their school’s team in the NFHL is determined by their school’s rules and not by the NFHL.

Overtime and Seven A Side

  • Prior to each regular season game, all teams involved should decide if they are going to play overtime in the case of a tie.  Teams are not required to play overtime (for reasons such as limited field time, etc.) but this decision should be agreed upon by all teams prior to the game.  It is highly advised that this is done in writing (email) in case a team disputes the decision.
  • For 7 v. 7 overtime play, there should only be at most 4 males players at all times (1 goalie, 3 field players).

Reporting Scores

  • Both captains will sign a Score Report Form at the end of each game (for their own records).
  • Home team ONLY report the score online.
  • If there is a problem with a score, teams should email the Home team to confirm the actual score.
  • Corrections should be emailed to scores@nationalfieldhockeyleague.com.
  • Away teams must dispute the score (by emailing Scores@NationalFieldHockeyLeague.com) by the following Wednesday at 12pm.

Cancellations/Forfeits

  • Cancellations must be made in writing (email) at least 10 full days before the date/time of the game.
  • Canceling within 10 full days results in a forfeit/loss and full reimbursement for the opposing teams: field time, official fees, and travel time (if applicable). The team that forfeits will be marked in the NFHL records. If this team consistently cancels less than 10 full days before a game, the team will be put on probation and reinstated at the discretion of the NFHL officers.
  • In the event of unplayable rain or bad weather, games must be cancelled by phone no less than 3 hours prior to game time (or the traveling time of the opposing team – whichever is greater).

All Stars

  • All Stars are players who have excelled throughout the season.  Team captains (both Honorary and Full) are required to:
    • Keep track of the number of votes players on their teams have received (each team is supposed to nominate the best player from the other team after the end of each game).
    • Reported their top two players (the positions that they played) to the league at the end of regular season play.
    • Notify their All Stars.
  • The names of the All Stars will be posted on our website and Facebook page.
  • All Stars who attend the Fall Championship will receive a free t-shirt.

 

FALL SEASON RANKING – EFFECTIVE FALL 2013

Why Did We Change the Ranking System in 2013?

In the Fall of 2013, we implemented a new ranking that more accurately ranks teams against other teams in the league. Prior to Fall 2013, if a team won a game, they received 2 game points towards their record – regardless of what team they played. There was no consideration for the strength of the opponent. Our new system rewards teams who win or tie against teams with stronger records. The goal of our ranking system is to motivate teams to grow within the sport, and reward teams for playing above their level within a challenging schedule.

“A” vs. “B” Teams

All teams (new and returning) are categorized as either an “A” team or a “B” team. A full team can be an “A” or “B” team and an Honorary team can be an “A” or a “B” team. The A/B split is only used for ranking purposes.

  • “A” Teams: > 1.25 average game points per game from the previous fall season
  • “B” Teams: ≤ 1.25 average game points per game from the previous fall season OR a team that played less than 5 games in the previous fall season OR a new team to the league

The purpose of categorizing teams is so that we can assign different game points (for a win/loss/tie) based on the type of opponent you play. If you play and win/tie against an “A” team will earn you more game points (towards your current fall season ranking) than if you play and win/tie against a “B” team. Losses are always zero game points, no matter which team you play.

How Do We Categorize Teams?

  • Using the historical data from the previous year’s fall scores, all teams are ranked and their average game points per game are calculated.
  • Only teams that played 5 or more games in the previous season were analyzed when determining the split between A/B divisions. We did this because we felt we couldn’t accurately “rank” a team that played 4 or fewer games.
  • All new teams are categorized as a “B” team because we have no past scores for them.

Game Points Awarded

Teams are ranked by their average game points per game. Average game points per game is derived by taking the total number of points and dividing that by the total number of games played. Points are assigned as follows:

  • Teams will receive 3 game points if they beat an “A” team and 2 game points if they tie an “A” team.
  • Teams will receive 2 game points if they beat a “B” team and 1 game point if they tie a “B” team.
  • Losses are always zero no matter which team you play.
  • Forfeit wins are 2 points regardless of your opponent. Forfeit losses are 0 points.
  • All points would be divided by the number of games played.
  • All tie-breakers remain the same.

GAME POINTS AWARDED

OPPONENT CATEGORY

Win

Tie

Loss

Forfeit Win

Forfeit Loss

A

3

2

0

2

0

B

2

1

0

2

0

 

Ranking

1st place goes to the team with the highest average game points per game. Average game points per game is derived by taking the total number of game points and dividing that by the total number of games played. If there is a tie between teams in regards to their game percentage, then the following is applied until the tie is broken:

  • Average Goal Differential – average goals scored for the season minus average goals allowed for the season
    • Average Goals Scored for the season – total number of goals scored divided by the total number of games played.
    • Average Goals Allowed for the season – total number of goals allowed divided by the total number of games played.
  • Head to Head – the two teams who are in a tie will have their games viewed for the season. Whichever team has the highest number of points in that outcome wins. For example, if Team A beats Team B during the season, in the event of a tie between Team A and Team B, Team A would advance.
  • Average Goals Scored for the season – total number of goals scored divided by the total number of games played.
  • Average Goals Allowed for the season – total number of goals allowed divided by the total number of games played.

The top 16 teams in the league will advance to the Fall Championship.

 

FALL CHAMPIONSHIP ELIGIBILITY

Team Requirements

  • Must be a Full member to be eligible for the Fall Championship.
  • Must have attended the previous Annual NFHL meeting.
  • Must have paid Annual dues.
  • Must not have an outstanding balance with the league.
  • Must have fulfilled minimum game requirements.

Game Requirements

  • Teams must play a minimum of 7 games.
  • Opponents can be Full or Honorary members.
  • Each team will be allotted 2 “Forfeit Win” games:
    • Forfeit wins are games where the opposing team cancelled less than 7 full days prior to the game time – please see Fall Season Cancellations below for more information on forfeit wins).
    • Only the first 2 forfeit wins will count towards a team’s record.
    • After a team has used up their 2 forfeit wins, all other forfeit wins will be excluded from their record.
  • All forfeit losses (for the team that cancelled a game less than 7 full days prior to the game time) will count towards a team’s official record.
  • Opponents can be full, honorary, “A” or “B” team – there is no restriction on who your opponent is.
  • Teams are allowed to play up to 2 teams twice. If you play a team more than twice, those additional games will not count towards your record.
  • All games count toward winning % and tie breakers (averaged over the total # of games)

 

FALL CHAMPIONSHIP STRUCTURE

  • Pool Play
  • Full, 2 or 3 day tournament in November.
  • 21 minute halves, 3 minute halftime.
  • Tiebreakers: One 15-minute 7v7 sudden victory round, then 1 round of “best of 5” shoot-outs, and finally sudden victory one-on-one shoot-outs.

 

SPRING TOURNAMENT

Participation, Rules and Game Structure

  • Click here for current Spring Tournament rules including player eligibility, game structure, etc.
  • All NFHL teams are invited to attend the Spring Tournament.
  • The tournament is first come, first served – a maximum of ~24 teams is allowed.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Alumni and non-team members are allowed to play on a team, as long as they are listed on the roster prior to the start of the first game.

Deadlines

  • Teams must abide by all deadlines to enter the tournament:
    • ~2 months before (RSVP Deadline): Written RSVP must be received.
    • ~1 month before (Dues Deadline): Dues must be received or teams must submit a letter from their school verifying that the paperwork for dues has been submitted. If the NFHL has not received a check or letter from the school by the assigned deadline, the team is removed from the tournament. Teams that are removed will be notified by email by the NFHL.

Cancellations

  • All teams must cancel in writing (send email to kristin@nationalfieldhockeyleague.com).
  • Teams that have submitted a written RSVP and cancel on or before the Dues Deadline:
    • No penalty
  • Teams that have submitted a written RSVP and cancel AFTER the Dues Deadline:
    • Teams are still required to pay dues prior to the tournament PLUS a $250 fine prior to the tournament.
    • Failure to pay dues PLUS the $250 fine before the tournament will result in probation from the league.

“No Shows”

  • Teams that have committed to coming to the Spring Tournament and do not show:
    • Will be put on probation until notified by league coordinators and must pay a fine of $250. A team will be reinstated once the dues and $250 fine are paid.

 

MISCONDUCT

Players, coaches and fans must treat all other players, NFHL staff, spectators, other coaches and umpires on/off the field with the utmost respect and dignity. Everyone is expected to compose themselves maturely and have sportsman-like conduct on/off the field at all times. Anyone who fails to abide by the conduct rule will face:

  • PLAYERS:
    • The consequences stipulated by the NCAA.
    • If issued a red card, the player will be suspended for the current game and the following game.
    • If issued a second red card during a tournament, the player will be suspended for the remainder of the tournament and must leave the facility immediately (for the remainder of the tournament).
  • COACHES:
    • One verbal warning or green card from NFHL staff or umpire.
    • Red card and suspension for the remainder of the day. They must leave the facility immediately.
    • If a second red card is issued at a tournament, the coach is suspended for the remainder of the tournament and must leave the facility immediately.
  • FANS:
    • Teams and team captains (or coaches) are ultimately responsible for the conduct of their fans.
    • NFHL staff will assess fan misconduct and fans can be required to leave the facility even in the absence of a request from a game umpire.
    • If an umpire feels that the game is being impacted by fan behavior, an official time out will be signaled (time is not actually stopped) by the umpire and the situation communicated to both captains. Play will be immediately restarted and the captains must leave the field to communicate the issue to players on their bench, their coach, and/or NFHL staff so that the behavior can be immediately addressed.If the fan behavior does not change for the better, an official time out will be signaled (time is not actually stopped) by the umpire and the situation communicated to both captains. The captains must leave the field to communicate the issue to players on their bench, their coach, and/or NFHL staff so that the behavior can be immediately addressed. Umpires will resume play after it is clear that the fan(s) involved are being addressed.
    • If the fan behavior does not change for the better, an official time out will be signaled (time is not actually stopped) by the umpire and the situation communicated to both captains. The captains must leave the field to communicate the issue to players on their bench, their coach, and/or NFHL staff so that the behavior can be immediately addressed. Umpires will resume play after it is clear that the fan(s) involved have left the facility.

 

Social Media Policy

 

Click here for the Social Media Policy that all Full and Honorary teams must sign prior to the start of the season.

Student‐athletes and teams that play on National Field Hockey League teams are held in the highest regard and are seen as role models in the community. As leaders you have the responsibility to portray your team, university, National Field Hockey League and yourselves in a positive manner at all times.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have increased in popularity globally, and are used by the majority of student‐athletes and teams in the league in one form or another. Student‐athletes and teams should be aware that third parties could easily access your profiles and view all personal information. This includes all pictures, videos, comments and posters. Inappropriate material found by third parties affects the perception of the student-athlete, your team, your university and the NFHL.

Examples of inappropriate and offensive behaviors may include depictions or presentations of the following:

  • Photos, videos, comments or posters showing the personal use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco e.g., no holding cups, cans, shot glasses etc.
  • Photos, videos, and comments that are of a sexual nature.
  • Pictures, videos, comments or posters that condone drug-related activity.
  • Content online that is unsportsmanlike, derogatory, demeaning or threatening toward any other individual or team (examples: derogatory comments regarding another institution; taunting comments aimed at a student-athlete, coach or team at another institution and derogatory comments against race and/or gender). No posts should depict or encourage unacceptable, violent or illegal activities (examples: hazing, sexual harassment/assault, gambling, discrimination, fighting, vandalism, academic dishonesty, underage drinking, illegal drug use).
  • Content online that would constitute a violation of NFHL or NCAA rules.

If a team or student‐athlete’s profile and its contents are found to be inappropriate in accordance with the above behaviors, the team will be subject to the following penalties: 

  1. Written warning.
  2. Penalties as determined by the officers of the NFHL, including but not limited to possible suspension of their team from the league.

If you are ever in doubt of the appropriateness of your online public material, consider whether it upholds and positively reflects your own values and ethics as well as the National Field Hockey League’s. Teams are required to sign this policy prior to the start of the season. By signing, you affirm that as a captain or coach, you understand the National Field Hockey League’s Social Media Policy and Guidelines for Teams and Players and the requirements that must be adhered to as a NFHL team. Also, you affirm that failure by your team or any player on your team to adhere to this policy and guidelines may result in consequences that include suspension of your team from the NFHL.


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